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Education of a Felon

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  948 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
In Education of a Felon, the reigning champion of prison novelists finally tells his own story. The son of an alcoholic stagehand father and a Busby Berkeley chorus girl, Bunker was--at seventeen--the youngest inmate ever in San Quentin. His hard-won experiences on L.A.'s meanest streets and in and out of prison gave him the material to write some of the grittiest and most
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 18th 2001 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published November 30th 1999)
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Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

Ha comentado hace poco el editor de la colección “Al margen” de Sajalín Editores que el libro con el que se iniciaba la colección, fue precisamente, el primero de Edward Bunker publicado en España: No hay bestia tan feroz. De hecho, esta colección surgió por su necesidad de publicar este tipo de libro que no entraba en la temática de la colección en ese momento. Desde la publicación de ese primer libro (2012) han pasado tres años y se cierra u
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
So far, so good. I love these obscure biographies. I'd rather read about this guy than, say, Bill friggin' Clinton...
pierlapo  quimby
Se non fosse per qualche eccesso di machismo (peraltro tipicamente statunitense ed ancor più naturale per un tizio che ha passato quasi due decenni in carcere) e qualche lezioncina di morale che francamente si poteva risparmiare, avrebbe meritato la quarta stelletta.
Ma forse incappo nell'errore di giudicare l'uomo e non il libro.
Quel che è certo è che Bunker la penna in mano la sapeva tenere eccome.
E poi tutti gli amanti della lettura dovrebbero inginocchiarsi davanti a chi scrive una frase del
Rebecca McNutt
Jun 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Emotional, engaging and totally unforgettable, Education of a Felon is a detailed portrait of the life of an inmate and what led up to his choices.
Chilly SavageMelon
When I was in Italy last spring, I kept seeing this novel everywhere. Hostel managers were reading it, it was displayed in the front glass in Sienese bookstores. ‘Who’s this mob guy with a novel’, I thought to myself, ‘looks good…’ But imagine my suprise when I found out that not only was the writer an American, he’d also done a cameo as Mr. Blue in ‘Reservior Dogs’! I had to get a copy, which upon returning to the States I did. Fuck Tarantino, but this was the sort of writer I pride myself on b ...more
Wu Ming
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WM3: Leggere Bunker significa soprattutto fare i conti con se stessi. C'è il rischio di uscirne con le ossa rotte, ma è una esperienza che solo la grande letteratura riserva. Edward Bunker scrive con l'acciaio e il cemento armato: il materiale di cui sono fatte le prigioni di massima sicurezza di San Quentin, Lexington, Folsom. Lo stesso materiale di cui è fatta la sua determinazione, assoluta e glaciale.
"Educazione di una canaglia" è la più lucida osservazione dell'universo concentrazionario
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: usa
Arso dal furore di vivere

Edward Bunker è una piacevole scoperta. L'ho conosciuto leggendo la bella recensione che ha scritto MartinaViola e mi sono incuriosita.
Bunker non è uno che le manda a dire. Scrive in modo crudo e reale. Senza alcuna indulgenza, in primo luogo verso stesso.
Il libro è la sua autobiografia.
Un bambino con una famiglia sfasciata alle spalle, senza punti di riferimento. A 10 anni entra nel carcere minorile, a 13 anni in riformatorio e a 17 anni nel carcere di San Quentin, carc
Jul 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who falls for Bukowski's bullshit
I can't see why this gets bad reviews. I think it's one of the best crime memoirs I've ever read, especially in that it neither over-glorifies his criminal lifestyle nor puts on a bunch of phony repentance. Bunker is a fluid writer with a good style, and he tells a story worth hearing, unadorned and unpretentious.
Michael S
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Education of a Civilan

Great read and moves fast. Good insights about the racial tensions in the penal system and when it gets down to it an accurate depiction of life on the outside.
Paolo Gianoglio
Solo alla fine del libro ho capito che Bunker è il Mr. Blue de “Le iene”, che da un suo libro è stato tratto “Vigilato Speciale” con Dustin Hoffman, che l’amico Danny Trejo conosciuto a San Quentin è il protagonista di Machete e molti altri film di successo. Nel momento in cui scriveva questo libro Bunker era coccolato da Tarantino, usciva a cena con Clooney, veniva acclamato come scrittore da James Ellroy. La vita che racconta in questa autobiografia avrebbe potuto probabilmente essere resa mol ...more
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was ok
There were times in Edward Bunker's life that he did transend his surroundings and people's expectations. Then there were times when he fulfilled society's expectations. The first 100 pages offer some great history and insights into LA in the 1940's and 50's and at times our own criminal justice system. Sadly, the momentum wanes and Bunker begins to wander. Always offering enough insights and mystery to keep the reader trudging through the pages of repetitive, Henry Milleresque, re-tellings of c ...more
Aug 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Generally pretty entertaining read, though there's an (inescapable?) ignorance in some of this. It's hard to read a guy saying he doesn't have anything against black folks but in a prison race riot he'd fight with his own people. Perhaps this is a measure of an experience I've never had--it may be very natural to think in those terms if all you've know is prison interspersed with crime here and there. Still, toward the end of the book his reflections on racial tensions in San Quentin in the sixt ...more
Jul 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Federico Ronchetti
« Sono convinto che chi non legge resta uno stupido. Anche se nella vita sa destreggiarsi, il fatto di non ingerire regolarmente parole scritte lo condanna ineluttabilmente all'ignoranza, indipendentemente dai suoi averi e dalle sue attività. »

E. Bunker, Educazione di una canaglia
Javier Sanz Sendra
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Muy entretenido y, lo que menos me esperaba, bien escrito. Una prosa ágil, plástica y precisa.
Es además un libro que permite aprender mucho de la condición humana.
Muy recomendable.
Jack O'Donnell
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is a moment at the end of the 1960s when race war is engulfing and burning America and the ‘chickens have come to roost’ in prisons, when Bunker is taking from his cell block in San Quentin to visit a parole officer. The parole officer laughs. Bunker’s file is the biggest he’s ever seen, the size of a phone book. He stops laughing when he reads the note attached, see File 2.
This is File 1 and 2, not written by the state, not written by those with an agenda. This is a book written by a wri
RB Love
Jun 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Rick Parmenteer
Shelves: books-read-2009
Terrific. Romantic. Horatio Alger to the 10th power. High power. —Eddie Bunker was Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs. He did 18 years over three separate stints, mainly in San Quentin. He grew up, really from the time he was nine years old, institutionalized. That he became a writer in prison with his formal education ending at 7th grade is tribute to his own perserverance, belief in himself and life. It is also an interesting meditation on nurture vs. nature, born intelligence, native intelligence, st ...more
Cristian Keller
Probabilmente questo E' IL LIBRO di Bunker. Ne ha scritti altri, ma questo è il suo compimento, la sua incredibile vita. E' interessante. Racconta la vita della prigione come nessun'altro la può raccontare. Tutto quello strato di società legato alla criminalità, alle droghe, alla prostituzione. Dall'interno. Nel suo genere è unico. Il pregio è che racconta quel mondo in modo vivo, senza ipocrisie, preciso. Il difetto è che è un po' prolisso. Forse troppo lento e lungo.
Nov 03, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, non-fiction, memoir
I was really looking forward to reading Bunker's memoir. The man's life story is fascinating. In and out of prison from age 15 to age 40 (he served 18 years total during that time), and afterwards becoming a published and somewhat renowned writer of crime fiction, as well as sometime actor (he was Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs). The memoir starts out interesting enough, detailing Bunker's early years on the streets and in homes for boys. Several times I had to remind myself I was reading about an 8 ...more
Jul 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're into prison lit, or hardknock lives, then Bunker's story will probably interest you. Don't get me wrong, the man lived an impressively tough life in and out of prison and has plenty of stories to tell about it; it just feels very cyclical: out of prison, gets into trouble, back in prison where it's very tense, out on parole, busted again, back in prison, repeat. Speaking of repetition, this is something that Bunker falls prey to quite often from chapter to chapter. It's mostly in the w ...more
Sam Klemens
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I got more out of this book than just some amazing stories. I got an in depth look into prison life from an author capable of handling the subject. Reading through the stories you become hooked in quickly and won't want to put it down. My best advice is start it on Friday. If you're weekend is free, you may be putting it back on the shelf by Sunday night.

The writing is very clear and entertaining. It reminded me of Iceberg Slim, althoug I think Bunker may be slightly more ethical than slim, as
Ryan Holiday
Jun 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Something I always keep in mind about books by criminals: their sociopathic tendencies are what allowed them to be successful in their world. I find myself convinced by their explanations and at the end set all that aside somewhat. The idea I think is that they are seducing you the same way they seduced the variety of necessary people during their life of crime-from lawyers to judges to victims and also themselves. My feeling is that if you leave the book particularly convinced or supportive of ...more
Jul 03, 2007 rated it it was ok
Reading this memoir was the equivalent of mental lockup. Wasn't the page turner I anticipated. In fact, it wasn't a page turner at all. It was slow and laborious w/a lot of peeking ahead to see how many pages were left. And, as another reviewer remarked, there were enough typos to keep a copyeditor employed. The memoir reads like the author dictated it instead of sitting down and writing it. In instances, his dates are off, ie, how could he be squiring a Penthouse Pet around town in 1960 when th ...more
Erwin Maack
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
"Eu estava tentando fazer o leitor ver o mundo através da perspectiva do criminoso, o que ele via, o que ele pensava, o que ele sentia - e por quê. Também tentava escrever em três níveis, primeiro pela excitação provocada pela história, segundo para penetrar em sua composição psicológica e terceiro para que ela promulgasse uma visão filosófica. Também tentava seguir a sentença de Hemingway de que o escritor devia ser tão devotado à verdade quanto um prelado da Igreja é a Deus. Diferentemente da ...more
Eve Kay
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I read Bunker's novels first, a few books, before finding out he had been in jail himself. There always was a somewhat strange air about his stories and reading about his personal life I realized what it was. None of his works felt pretentious or snobbish in any way. Not that you would ever expect that in novels about jail or crime. But he was so real and staight forward, it made sense, his life. When I read this book about his life, I lost all interest in the rest of his books. None of them eve ...more
J. Niimi
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A real page turner. The autobiography of the author of The Animal Factory and No Beast So Fierce (you may also know Bunker from his role as Mr. Blue in 'Reservoir Dogs'.) This man led the most brutal and crazy life imaginable -- you begin to lose track of how many times he's beaten to a pulp, or how many times he attacks a fellow prisoner with a homemade shank. Beautifully vivid descriptions of Los Angeles in the '40s and '50s. Guided by an unflagging moral sense despite the shadiness of his cri ...more
Christopher Winterburn
brilliants in places but I found it went on and on and on. Reading about the early part of his life was very interesting and then his "platonic" relationship with Louise Wallis was exceptional but then I found a lot of the prison stuff kept repeating itself. Towards the end there's a lot about the race wars that went on in prison which was an interesting read.

For some reason the "time left in chapter" on my Kindle Paperwhite didn't like this book. "38 minutes left in chapter" often took over an
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm a few chapters in and already young Eddie Bunker is in the LA County jail celling with men down from death row at San Quinten. He has been kicked out of or run away from foster homes, military schools and reformatories for boys. He is all of 15 years old and is a salty dog.

For those unfamiliar with Bunker he was Mr. Blue in Reservoir Dogs and wrote the book and screen play Animal Factory was based on. I am fascinated by the vivid picture he paints of post WWII Los Angeles and it's seedy und
Kelly Anderson
Jun 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Here is case where the Kindle was the most viable option for reading this book. At least for me, a reader who has never had the will to arise from a comfy locale to find a dictionary when a new word is presented. It was evident that Mr. Bunker spent a great deal of time reading in prison and his lexicon presented itself in his writing. Not overly wordy per se, but he certainly has an affinity for a couple of rarely used words.

As far as a review, this was an intriguing read. His valid viewpoint i
Sten Ryason
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Wonderful book. Fascinating autobiography of a felon-turned-successful writer (and occasional actor). Bunker's first novel, No Beast So Fierce, was the basis for a Dustin Hoffman film, Straight Time, and one of the most unflinching looks at what being a small-time crook and felon is like. This book is essentially everything that led up to the publishing of that book, from his youth as a constant runaway to his time spent with mafia underbosses in prison. Underneath it all was the love of reading ...more
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Edward Heward Bunker was an American author of crime fiction, a screenwriter, and an actor.
He wrote numerous books, some of which have been adapted into films.
Bunker was a bright but troublesome child, who spent much of his childhood in different foster homes and institutions.
He started on a criminal career at a very early age, and continued on this path throughout the years, returning to prison
More about Edward Bunker...
“I believe that anyone who doesn't read remains dumb. Even if they know how, failing to regularly ingest the written word dooms them to ignorance, no matter what else they have or do” 18 likes
“Sono convinto che chi non legge resta uno stupido. Anche se nella vita sa destreggiarsi, il fatto di non ingerire regolarmente parole scritte lo condanna ineluttabilmente all'ignoranza, indipendentemente dai suoi averi e dalle sue attività.” 12 likes
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